LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – The Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill which would allow the Michigan State Police the continued access to the federal background check database to help find those convicted of violent crimes. 

House Bill 4045, introduced by Representative Kathy Schmaltz (R- Jackson) would create the volunteer employee criminal history system program; to impose a fee for conducting a national and state criminal history record information check. 

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“Solving this problem is of great importance not only to the Michigan State Police, but also to the families of individuals who put their trust in others to care for their loved ones,” Representative Schmaltz said in a statement. “Michigan already has a critical staffing shortage at nursing homes, childcare facilities and hospitals. The problem will be exacerbated if these facilities can no longer rely on the in-state background check program and instead have to wait for the federal government to vet new employees.”

The bill passed by an overwhelming margin and with bipartisan support with 96 yes votes and 7 no votes yesterday in the house. 

According to Rep. Schmaltz the federal government had made changes that would require Michigan to update its state laws regarding background checks before June, or the MSP would be at risk of being cut off from the federal databases. 

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Former police officer and co-sponsor of the bill, Representative Mike Harris (R- Clarkston) was one of the supporters of the bill. 

“The Michigan State Police conducts criminal background checks to help protect the most vulnerable Michiganders of all ages, but the system needs updating for our state to continue facilitating this resource,”  Representative Harris said in a statement. “Our common-sense plan will bring Michigan’s background check system current with federal law so we can keep providing this important public service and preserve public safety.”

Part of the bill includes a “rap back program” which provides ongoing updates on employees of volunteers according to Schmaltz, which protects the public should an individual be charged with a dangerous offense after they are hired.  This would also eliminate the need for repeated background checks. 

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The bill will advance to the senate for consideration ahead of the June deadline to update the state’s laws.